Who? Me? Offended? And other musings…

Ask a person, “Did I offend you?” & you’ll sometimes get an answer like, “What? No. I’m not offended.” Even if they really are. I don’t think its because we’re all liars who sit on a Throne of Lies who smell like beef & cheese; I think it might be because we think being offended is a bad thing, & so, rather than acknowledge, “Yeah, what you said really bothered me,” we go into denial or avoidance mode. And that’s where the trouble starts.


A couple weeks ago, I was almost done with our “Be At Rest” series & needed another one to take us up through September 3rd. (Long story, but the nutshell version is we’re launching our Fall series, “Perseverance: a study in the Psalms of Ascent” on September 10th.) So, after praying about it, I decided to do a series on being offended. And here’s some of what I found.

There’s about 3 different words (2 Hebrew/1 Greek) that are utilized to describe/define offense.  In essence, the 3 say: OFFENDED: to stumble, trip over a stumbling block, to get tripped up. To be wronged/violated/rebelled against. Stumbling blocks, points of offense. A trap/traps.

Something that causes you to stumble. A stumbling block. A trap.

Sounds diabolical.


Offense/being offended is NOT the EMOTIONS that come with the (real/perceived) being wronged, hurt, let down, disappointed, violated, etc… by another person/persons. Taking offense/being offended is the result of our RESPONSE to being wronged or being hurt. It’s putting ourself in a place of judgement upon others. It’s covered with unforgiveness, denial, & pride. Here’s some of what I’ve discovered happens to us when we take offense/stay offended:

  • Offense limits the miraculous/God’s work in our lives
  • Offense breaks up/damages relationships
  • Offense introduces judgement by us, which then brings us under God’s judgement.
  • Offense causes us to be stuck until we thoroughly deal with it
  • Offense cuts off our ability to produce Godly fruit in our lives – NOTE: this doesn’t mean God stops working in/through/around us. It doesn’t – because God doing those things in us etc… are the result of spiritual gifts. Godly fruit in our lives comes from living congruently & faithfully following God & His principles. (Thank you John Bevere for that.) 
  • Offense causes us to focus solely on the person/persons who hurt us & what they did while ignoring/glossing over our own role/responsibility/fault in the matter.
  • Offense can be transmitted to other people completely uninvolved in the situation, causing them to stumble & become trapped too.

So, how do we deal with it? How do we get out of the trap & back on our feet? It’s easy. And it can be the most difficult thing we will ever do.

For starters, WE DIE. (See Galatians 2:20 for more on that.)  We die to ourselves. We lay down our pride. We process our feelings, our emotions, & take stock of the hurts. We repent for holding on to unforgiveness. We ask God to help change our heart, change our thinking, change our ways. We answer the question: “Could you be wrong?” affirmatively, knowing that our perception, no matter how much we think is the RIGHT one, could be off. And so could we. We invite the Holy Spirit into the process, & pray the prayer of Psalm 139:23,24 – 

Search me, O God, & know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, & lead me in the way everlasting

And we stay at it – & refuse to be offended, choosing instead to be a person who takes God’s point of view on our lives, vs. our own. We embrace God’s ways & means, & lay down our own, believing His to be far better. And you know what happens then? This. Peace.

Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165.

Guess what the root word that’s translated there as “STUMBLE”. Yep. Its one of the words from above, one of the words for OFFENSE. 

Love God & His law, & you will have a great & divine peace. Nothing will be able to make you offended.

Stopping to feel the feelings & other musings…

Not long ago I had a conversation with a dear friend who was sharing about how different her life was since she began taking the time to “feel her feelings,” especially the unpleasant ones: frustration, helplessness, sadness, grief, anger, hatred, disappointment, & the like. So, instead of ignoring her feelings, minimizing them, making herself so busy she’d ‘forget’ about them, &/or stuffing them in one of the seldom-visited compartments that exist in our minds, she (with the help of the healing of the Holy Spirit) began to feel them. To really experience, reflect upon, & invite God into the waterfall of her feelings & emotional responses to those feelings. Her verdict?

Feeling feelings is hard. A lot of the time it hurts. The feeling/reflecting/responding can lead to difficult & painful conclusions about the state of our lives & the relationships we’re in. They alert us that something needs to be worked through, acknowledged, addressed, &/or processed – activities that hold a promise of pain in the same way cleaning gravel out of a scraped knee does.


I know what she means. The first quarter century of my life I was “feelings challenged” – I didn’t know how to feel the negative feelings, let alone how to process through them. So they were ignored.

The problem is that the unresolved mess floated in my subconscious like a program running in the background of my brain, & whenever a situation would arise that remotely reminded me of any of those weak & negative feelings, I’d have a mini-meltdown. That looked like an outburst of anger, crying for “no reason,” depression, &/or the hopelessness of not knowing how to deal with myself or to make a change.

God provided an outlet of sorts… but it wasn’t like I asked Him to “search my heart” in order to heal & transform me. I prayed vague prayers, read my Bible, did church stuff. A lot of church stuff. Looking back, it was like keeping Him at arms length while asking for a miraculous work that would change my issues in a moment, when what was needed was a walk with Him through the difficulty, the darkness, the proverbial “valley of the shadow of death,” so that the underlying problems, areas of hurt & wounding, places of brokenness & pain could be healed.


The story of God’s work in this area of my life is a long one – & it’s not something I’m going to write about today. However, I do want to highlight one element that ended up playing a big role in this journey for me – reading through the Psalms.

For as long as I can remember, I have read the Psalms everyday – I’m a creature of habit, & my “habit” involved a plan that would take me through all 150 Psalms every month. (You take the day of the month – for example, today is the 6th, & you’d read Psalm 6, add 30 & read Psalm 36, add 30 & read Psalm 66 & so on.) The Psalms provided a back entrance into the conundrum of my feelings – because they are written RAW. The Psalmist (mostly David) pulls no punches in articulating to God EXACTLY what he’s feeling. And what ended up striking me as so odd was that God could HANDLE whatever David threw at Him. Nothing fazed God, even when David was angry, disappointed, frustrated, &/or feeling abandoned by Him. And as David processed through the Psalms, his own heart changed even if his circumstances didn’t. He started seeing himself & his life situations, as hard as they often were, as being firmly in the center of God’s hands. And by “feeling his feelings,” David got a perspective on those feelings that allowed him to keep moving forward as a “man after God’s own heart.” For some examples of David letting it all out, check out these PSALMS

David’s example has been a path for me over the last 15 years. And I’m thankful that God can “take” me when I’m at my very worst – He knows the depths of my heart – He loves me. And is healing me.

A door for a hobbit hole, navigating the plague, & other musings as Christmas approaches…

My Hobbit DoorSpent the last several “Sunday Family Movie Nights” watching the LOTR (Lord of the Rings for the uninitiated,) & during the “Fellowship of the Ring,” I was hit by an epiphany: the hill directly across the street from my front door needs a “Hobbit Door.” Granted, in a perfect world, I would create an entire hobbit lair, but I can’t do that, for a plethora of reasons. A door, however, would most likely be a pretty easy install, & though it would go NOWHERE, you could imagine.

I mentioned it to theBean, & she wasn’t a fan. For some reason.

And then a backhoe showed up in front of my house. Obviously, I took this as a sign that God wanted me to have the Backhoe Guy dig a hole in the hill, & have a few handy friends come over to shore up the hill & ‘install’ a hobbit door. I could see the unveiling over next couple of months, complete with grass, flowers, a hobbit mailbox, & other accessories that I know that the neighbors (& of course city officials) would be very appreciative of.

As I was dreaming of all the upcoming construction, & mentally thanking the LORD for His providence at sending Backhoe Guy to my front porch, Backhoe Guy drove the backhoe up the hill to work on an install of some drainage pipe.

Noooo. Come back, says me.

It could still happen. I’m dreaming.


I have spent the last 10 days recovering from the flu – it was by far the ‘worst’ sickness I’ve endured in the last 20 years, as if there could be a ‘good’ sickness to have. The most troubling part of this sickness involved a renegade lymph node that swelled to the size of Kentucky. It was round, hard as a rock, & oh-so-conspicuous on the underside of my jaw, strategically placed on the left side. It was huge. TheWeez kindly said I resembled the dad from “Family Guy.” Though it has diminished in size due to prayer, antibiotics, & anti-inflammatories, I shall remember this little bundle of joy for all time.


As of Sunday, I am officially done with my first year (of two) of school in the pursuit of my Master’s degree. The year I’ve just completed is marked by a 4-week break from any real school activities. And there is great rejoicing!


Just about every day, in addition to my ‘regular’ Bible reading, I read the Psalms. My ‘way’ of reading them is to take whatever the date is today (the 20th,) & read Psalm 20, then add 30 & read Psalm 50, 80, 110, & 140. By doing this, I will have read through all 150 of the Psalms in a month.

A few weeks ago, I was given the Kathleen Norris book “The Cloister Walk” – I’d encourage you to check it out – & though it wasn’t something she recommended in the book, I felt compelled to return to reading my Psalms like I normally do, except OUT LOUD. One of the things I immediately noticed is the significant shift that happens when I have to slow down in order to speak each word, each phrase the psalmist has written. I find that I’m hanging on the words more, as though they are not just the words I’m reading, but are part of a prayer I’m praying, joining in with the church that has been praying these same psalms for thousands of years.

I am comforted by the humanity of the words, the acknowledgement of the suffering, need, and pain of the human condition, especially with how all of that is submitted to the glory & greatness of God. No whining. No complaining. No “woe is me” stands up to the fact that He is with me. He gives me peace, life, power, freedom, encouragement, and strength. And as I read, I sense the bedrock surety that is built in a life that depends on God & His Word.

Life is good. God is better.


I’m looking forward to 2012…

40. Again.

No, I’m not reminiscing about birthdays. I’m singing.

This morning, I was reading my “Psalms by the 30’s” (starting with today’s date, the 10th, I read the 10th, 40th, 70th, 100th & 130th Psalms – a little plan so that I can read through all 150 in the month.) When I got to the opening lines of Psalm 40, my mind took off, & I burst into U2’s “40”, their version of Psalm 40; it’s one of my favorite songs (NOTE: I only did this in my head. I couldn’t really be LOUD at 6:15. It is oh-so-wrong to be loud in the morning. For so many reasons. But I digress.)

I ponder the psalmist’s patience while he’s IN the miry clay. David knows that he has a Rescuer who will hear his cry for help. A Deliverer that will pull him from mire & set his feet upon the solid rock. And while he’s in it, rather than panic (which only sinks one deeper in the muck,) he waits. Patiently. On the Sure Thing, the One who will lift him.

I’m stuck there. Thinking on the discipline of practicing patience; patiently waiting while in the middle of the stuff.

Not so good at patience all the time am I. Complaining, (even if its just in my head, to the LORD,) comes easier. Panic wants to rise up in response to the initial fear of realization of my predicament. Like David, I want to reflect the calm assurance that my Rescuer, my Deliverer will come for me. That He’s with me. Active faith, exercised in the mud. Waiting. I want to get it. I’m on my way.

Not fully there.

But in process.

How long/how long/how long/how long/to sing this song?